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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Column: Casey Skowron does it all for Arizona football

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Tyler Baker

Arizona kicker Casey Skowron (41) celebrates after his sucessful last minute field goal during the 4th quarter of Arizona’s 27-26 win against Washington at Arizona Stadium on Saturday. 

With three seconds remaining in Arizona football’s game against Washington, kicker Casey Skowron had a frightening flashback. Against USC just five weeks before, Skowron had cost the Wildcats by missing the game-winning field in the final moments of the game. He wasn’t going to let that happen against Washington.

Skowron was no doubt the MVP of the game in the No. 17 Arizona Wildcats 27-26 come-from-behind victory over the Washington Huskies. He managed to score 15 points for the Wildcats by himself. In fact, the winning field goal was Arizona’s first game-winning field goal since 2009 and the longest conversion game-winner since 2006.

“I think he wanted the opportunity, and as I told the team, I think he wants to be the tailback, too,” UA football head coach Rich Rodriguez said. “He was the difference, and I’m proud of him.”

This season could have turned out far worse for Skowron. In fact, Washington tried to “ice” Skowron on his first attempt, a kick that went far wide. However, he wouldn’t let fans down and gave a booming 47-yard field goal through the goalpost for the victory on his second attempt.

“Every time I kick, I think about the USC game, but part of being a great kicker is being able to come over things that have happened in the past and just go on to the next kick,” Skowron said. “It was just about making that kick.”

Skowron is one classy kid that doesn’t give up. After receiving death threats after the USC game, hell, I would have quit football right there. But there is something about Skowron that shows he’s not a quitter. Many would have stolen the show and praised their own efforts, but not Skowron, who instead talked about how winning is a team effort.

“It felt fantastic,” Skowron said. “Any time we get a chance to hit a field goal and we make is a great win. Any time we win a game, I’m happy whether it’s off of a field goal, whether it’s a blowout or whether it’s off a last-minute touchdown. It doesn’t matter how we get the win as long as we get it.”

It was a redemption that Skowron clearly needed. After the USC loss, he was the last one to leave the locker room. Ever since the missed attempt, Rodriguez and the coaches have instilled confidence in him to remain the starting kicker.

“The support has been immense from family, friends, teammates, coaches, fans and even rivals,” Skowron said. “I know everyone on my team; 119 guys have my back.”

Skowron’s historical day finished with three extra points, two field goals and even a touchdown. As the time winded down in the second quarter, on fourth and four, Skowron faked a field goal and ran for an 18-yard touchdown to flip the momentum completely to Arizona’s side, leaving the Huskies in disbelief.

“The fake was something we’ve been working on all week,” Skowron said. “It was a type of fake that we knew we were going to run, and it was just a matter of getting the ball in the right area. I just put my head down, waited for the snap and I was ready to go.”

Rodriguez opened his press conference to the media smiling, with a quote from the movie “Gladiator.”

“I will steal the line from one of the greatest movies, ‘Gladiator,’ ‘Are you not entertained?’” Rodriguez said.

The Wildcats are in a good place. They are 8-2 overall (5-2 Pac-12 Conference) and know how to win close games. Seven of their 10 games have come down to a one-possession. They have a top-20 NCAA place kicker and a team that is hungry for more victories. Rodriguez joked that he may have a heart attack soon if games continue to come down to the wire, though.

These Wildcats are making historical accomplishments for a football team that nobody thought had any chance at the beginning of the season. They continue to face adversity and welcome it with open arms. Bowl committee, you better start paying attention to Arizona.

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Follow Matt Wall on Twitter.

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